People often ask me how aromatherapy works. I love it when people ask questions! Next week I will be posting a more in depth blog about memory-emotion and aromatherapy. Before I get into that I would like to just give you a basic understanding of how/why aromatherapy works. As a scientist and certified aromatherapist it is important to help people understand that essential oils and aromatherapy are more than just a pretty smell- they are functional!
Cue the quick science lesson: Essential oils are volatile. This means that essential oils can evaporate and easily turn into vapor. The vapor of the oil when released into the air travels as molecules. These molecules travel to your nose. From the minute an aroma hits your nose there is a process that occurs. In this process there are 4 key concepts that are important to understand- Detect, Transmit, Perceive and analyze.
DETECT: Essential Oil molecules travel up the nose into the nasal cavity, where they come into contact with chemoreceptors. When an odor molecule stimulates a chemoreceptor, changes to your brain occur.
TRANSMIT: The change to your brain is caused by a nerve impulse which creates a signal- (known as an aroma print) that travels to the olfactory bulb .
PERCEIVED & ANALYZED: The aroma print travels to other parts of the brain for perception, analysis, storage in memory and emotional response.
Check out the fun little video below to give a visual explanation.